Around the Watershed: News and Events

Preparing for Winter Storms

Posted on: March 5th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch
Trees interacting with power lines over the upper Esopus Creek, Oliverea, NY, following the Nor'easter of March 2, 2108. Photo by A. Bennett.

Tree inter­act­ing with power lines over the upper Eso­pus Creek, Oliv­erea, NY fol­low­ing the Nor’easter of March 2, 2018. Photo by A. Bennett.

The recent Nor’easter shows just how dev­as­tat­ing and dis­rup­tive high winds cou­pled with snow and ice can be. Even today, three days after the storm, thou­sands, includ­ing many in the water­shed are still with­out power. Presently, another Nor’easter is fore­cast to hit the region this Wednes­day. There are actions you can take today to be pre­pared and lessen the impact win­ter storms have on you and your family.

A great resource is the NY Exten­sion Dis­as­ter Edu­ca­tion Net­work (NY EDEN) page that deals with Win­ter Storms. As with many other types of dis­as­ters it is impor­tant to have a emer­gency bag or kit with sup­plies in your home. Items that could be included in the kit include:

  • One gal­lon of drink­ing water per per­son per day (for the assumed length of time you will be with­out water)
  • Non-perishable food items (such as canned food) and can opener
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flash­light
  • Bat­tery pow­ered AM/FM radio with batteries

Here are more ways to pre­pare and stay safe:

Be sure to have suf­fi­cient fuel since it may not be pos­si­ble for deliv­er­ies to be made for sev­eral days. Try to fill vehi­cle fuel tanks prior to the storm and keep sev­eral con­tain­ers of fuel ready for refu­el­ing. If you do lose power, do not run a gen­er­a­tor or propane grill inside your house as you may be poi­soned by car­bon monox­ide fumes. Dress in lay­ers to stay warm and use extra blan­kets in bed. If you use a fire­place or wood stove, be sure to have fire extin­guish­ers ready and that smoke detec­tors and car­bon monox­ide detec­tors have fresh batteries.

Espe­cially this time of year, snow tends to melt quickly and could con­tribute to flood­ing. Do not drive over flooded road­ways as the depth of water is often deceiv­ing and deeper than it appears. Turn Around! Don’t Drown!

Do not attempt to drive over or move downed power lines as it is often dif­fi­cult to deter­mine if they are live or not. Downed lines in stand­ing water can poten­tially be an elec­tro­cu­tion haz­ard so stay clear of them. Report the downed lines to your elec­tric com­pany. Unless you are expe­ri­enced with the use of a chain­saw, do not try to cut up downed trees on your own. This is espe­cially true if the trees are tan­gled up in downed power lines. Leave their removal to professionals.

Use the time we have now to pre­pare for the next storm so you will have the least amount of disruption.

National Invasive Species Awareness Week — Water Chestnut

Posted on: March 2nd, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

Wel­come to the final day of National Inva­sive Species Week! Thank you all for stick­ing with us. We hope you’ve learned a great deal and will con­tinue efforts in pre­serv­ing our native species! Last, but not least, we look at the aquatic inva­sive Water Chestnut.

Water Chest­nut is native to Eura­sia and Africa, intro­duced to the U.S. in the mid-1800’s as an orna­men­tal plant. It is found in fresh­wa­ter lakes and slow-moving streams and rivers. First notice in Sco­tia, NY, Water Chest­nut occurs in 43 coun­ties across New York State.


Water Chest­nut is an annual plant with float­ing triangluarly-shaped leaves con­tain­ing saw-toothed edges. The sub­merged, hol­low air-filled stems grow 12 to 15 feet in length that anchor them­selves in the soil. Four-petaled, white flow­ers bloom in June, with fruits con­tain­ing 4-inch spines with barbs. Seeds within the fruits remain viable up to 12 years. The fruits are key in spread­ing Water Chest­nut, as they detach from the stem and float to another area. The barbs aid in attach­ing the fruit to recre­ational water­crafts and fish­ing equipment.

Leaf system of Water Chestnut. photo courtesy of Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel

Leaf sys­tem of Water Chest­nut.
photo cour­tesy of North­east Aquatic Nui­sance Species Panel

Water Chestnut. photo courtesy of Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel

Water Chest­nut.
photo cour­tesy of North­east Aquatic Nui­sance Species Panel

Fruit of the Water Chestnut. photo courtesy of NYS Parks Boat Stewards

Fruit of the Water Chest­nut.
photo cour­tesy of NYS Parks Boat Stewards

So what’s the prob­lem?

Water Chest­nuts con­tain dense root mats that make water recre­ation extremely dif­fi­cult to get through. These dense mats also shade out native plants, which pro­vide food and shel­ter to native  fish, birds, and insects. When the dense mats decom­pose, the chem­i­cal processes involved decrease the amount of dis­solved oxy­gen in the water, poten­tially suf­fo­cat­ing fish and plant species. The fruits of the Water Chest­nut are often found along the shore­line and bot­tom of water­ways, mak­ing the barbs of the fruits extremely painful if stepped on.

What can be done?

A vari­ety of meth­ods in con­trol­ling Water Chest­nut include man­ual, mechan­i­cal, and chem­i­cal meth­ods. Early detec­tion is the best way to con­trol and even erad­i­cate this inva­sive aquatic plant, keep­ing costs and eco­log­i­cal impacts low. Hand-pulling is often done to smaller infected areas, though, when a site is too large, har­vest­ing machines can also be used. Chem­i­cal treat­ments should be done by NYS DEC pro­fes­sion­als only.

As a local com­mu­nity mem­ber, make sure to Clean, Drain, and Dry your water­craft and equip­ment before and after each use. Be sure to dump your bait bucket water where it came from or on land.

If you think you have found Water Chest­nut, take a look at the Water Chest­nut Fact Sheet. If con­firmed, the NYS DEC asks you take many pho­tos and sub­mit a report to iMap­In­va­sives. Please share this infor­ma­tion with others!

For more infor­ma­tion regard­ing local infes­ta­tions of Water Chest­nut, check out the Eso­pus Creek Con­ser­vancy here. Thank you again for tak­ing time to explore inva­sive species with us dur­ing National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week! Check back soon for more updates from the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Program!

Face­bookTwit­ter, and Insta­gram



National Invasive Species Awareness Week — Didymo (Rock Snot)

Posted on: March 1st, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

Day 4 of National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week is ded­i­cated to Rock Snot!

What is it?

Didy­mos­pher­nia gem­i­nata a.k.a. Didymo a.k.a. Rock Snot, is an aquatic, inva­sive, micro­scopic diatoma­ceous algae that pro­duces high vol­umes of stalk mate­r­ial, which is why you may see thick mats on stream bot­toms. It is often brown, tan, or white, with the appear­ance and tex­ture of wet wool that does not fall apart easily.

Didymo in the Esopus Creek. photo courtesy of NYIS

Didymo in the Eso­pus Creek.
photo cour­tesy of NYIS

How does this impact streams?

Because Didymo grows on the bot­tom of streams and still waters, and forms thick mats of mate­r­ial, it can last for months, despite occur­ring through­out some fast mov­ing streams. When Didymo grows, or blooms, it cov­ers entire stream beds, cov­er­ing over native organ­isms, and restrict­ing the avail­abil­ity of food for native fish species. It spreads quickly and eas­ily due to water recre­ation activ­i­ties. Fish­ing, kayaking/canoeing, tub­ing, and boat­ing allows the micro­scopic algea to attach onto your boots, waders, and boats, and if not cleaned off prop­erly, it will spread to the next body of water you go to. Cur­rently, there are no con­trol meth­ods avail­able to stop the spread and erad­i­cate Didymo.

Make it stop!

NYS DEC urges the pub­lic to use the “Inspect, Clean and Dry” method to decrease the spread of inva­sive species. If for any rea­son you can’t get your equip­ment clean and dry, restrict your equip­ment to a sin­gle water body.

Density Observations of Rock Snot. map courtesy of NYIS

Den­sity Obser­va­tions of Rock Snot.
map cour­tesy of NYIS

**Atten­tion Felt-Sole Waders! We encour­age you to con­sider other alter­na­tives, such as rub­ber stud­ded boots. Because felt-soles absorb Didymo cells and remain absorbent for long peri­ods of time, the spread of Didymo can increase rapidly if spe­cial treat­ments are not conducted.

Check back tomor­row for our final day of National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week!

Face­bookTwit­ter, and Insta­gram

National Invasive Species Awareness Week — Emerald Ash Borer

Posted on: February 28th, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

Happy Wednes­day! On this third day of National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week, we’re tak­ing a closer look at the Emer­ald Ash Borer (EAB).

Accord­ing to the NYS DEC, The EAB is a bee­tle from Asia that was first found in Michi­gan in 2002. Sadly, the EAB infests and even­tu­ally kills North Amer­i­can Ash tree species, mak­ing every native Ash tree sus­cep­ti­ble to infestation.

Let’s get a closer look!

The EAB is very small, mea­sur­ing, at most, 0.5 inches long and 0.125 inches wide. The adults have a shim­mer­ing emer­ald green body with a cop­per or pur­ple abdomen on it’s under­side. You’ll often see these pests from May through Sep­tem­ber, but their prime activ­ity months are June and July. If you pass by an Ash tree, you will most likely see D-shaped exit holes in the branches and trunk of trees. Other signs of infec­tion include the yel­low­ing and brown­ing of tree leaves and less tree canopy present. Within 2 to 4 years, the Ash trees will suc­cumb to the EAB infestation.

ID the Emerald Ash Borer. photo courtesy of NYIS

ID the Emer­ald Ash Borer.
photo cour­tesy of NYIS

Emerald Ash Borer Larva inside an Ash tree. photo courtesy of Emerald Ash Borer Information Network

Emer­ald Ash Borer Larva inside an Ash tree.
photo cour­tesy of Emer­ald Ash Borer Infor­ma­tion Network

Emerald Ash Borer Damage to an Ash tree. photo courtesy of Woodworking Network

Emer­ald Ash Borer Dam­age to an Ash tree.
photo cour­tesy of Wood­work­ing Network

The EAB is found through­out the East­ern to Cen­tral United States and East­ern Canada. In New York, the first infes­ta­tion of EAB was sighted in Cat­ta­rau­gus County in 2009. It then spread to the Hud­son River Val­ley, and con­tin­ued on to more than 30 coun­ties. Infes­ta­tions were most recently found in Franklin and St. Lawrence Coun­ties in 2017.

Map of Emerald Ash Borer Locations. courtesy of NYS DEC

Map of Emer­ald Ash Borer Loca­tions.
cour­tesy of NYS DEC

 What can you do?

Review this EAB Early Detec­tion Brochure. If you believe you have an Emer­ald Ash Borer infes­ta­tion and are out­side of the known infes­ta­tion areas, call the Depart­ment of For­est Health Infor­ma­tion line (1–866-640‑0652).


Keep up with us this week in honor of National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week and check back tomor­row to learn about a dif­fer­ent Inva­sive Species!

Check us out on Face­bookTwit­ter, and Insta­gram

National Invasive Species Awareness Week — Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Posted on: February 27th, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Wood, Day 2! 

Today we are look­ing at the Inva­sive Hem­lock Woolly Adel­gid (HWA), and small aphid-like insect that attacks North Amer­i­can Hem­lock Trees. Often, the HWA look like white woolly masses (or, ovisacs) found on the under­side of branches at the base of Hem­lock nee­dles. Ovisacs con­tain up to 200 eggs and will remain on the tree through­out the year. Native to Asia, the HWA was first found in the U.S. in 1951 and has spread north ever since. These inva­sive insects cur­rently infect 43 coun­ties within New York State.

White Woolly egg ovisacs.

White Woolly egg ovisacs.

So what do Hem­lock Woolly Adel­gids do to Hem­lock trees that make them so invasive?

HWA’s hatch from the ovisacs and insert very long mouth parts into the tree, at the base of the nee­dles. The insects will remain in the same spot for the rest of their lives, con­tin­u­ally feed­ing on the starches stored within the tree. This process neg­a­tively affects the trees by tak­ing in the nutri­ents meant for the tree limbs and nee­dles. With this process affect­ing the tree, mor­tal­ity of the tree occurs within 4 to 10 years of a HWA infestation.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid attached to the base of a needle on a Hemlock tree.

Hem­lock Woolly Adel­gid attached to the base of a nee­dle on a Hem­lock tree.

How do we con­trol these pests?

There are a vari­ety of meth­ods the State and other orga­ni­za­tions have col­lab­o­rated together to do in order to save our native Hem­lock trees. Through the suc­cess­ful intro­duc­tion of non-native, but non-invasive species for pre­da­tion, the HWA has been con­trolled. Insec­ti­cides have also been used to treat a tree that has already been infested or as a pre­ven­ta­tive method in a high-risk area. Though insec­ti­cides have been use­ful in treat­ing indi­vid­ual trees, large forested areas are not ideal.

What hap­pens if you think you’ve found Hem­lock Woolly Adelgids ?

The New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (NYS DEC), sug­gests tak­ing pic­ture of the infes­ta­tion includ­ing a coin or ruler for scale, make a note of the loca­tion, fill out the HWA sur­vey form, and send over the report, plus the pic­tures you take, to DEC For­est Health You can also report the infes­ta­tion you find on the iMap­In­va­sives map and con­tact the New York Inva­sive Species Infor­ma­tion (NYIS).

Decrease the spread of HWA and other inva­sives by clean­ing any gear or equip­ment that has been in or near an infested area!

For more infor­ma­tion regard­ing HWA, check out this neat video by Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity!

Check back tomor­row for another inter­est­ing Inva­sive Species in honor of National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week 2/26–3/2 2018! AWSMP Pub­li­ca­tions & ResourcesFace­bookTwit­terInsta­gram


National Invasive Species Awareness Week 2018 — Japanese Knotweed

Posted on: February 26th, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

Feb­ru­ary 26th marks the begin­ning of National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week! Through­out this week, until March 2nd, we will be explor­ing dif­fer­ent inva­sive species present within our water­shed. To start off this week, we must first ask our­selves, “What is an inva­sive species?”. An inva­sive species is a species that is non-native to an ecosys­tem and has the poten­tial to cause envi­ron­men­tal harm to an area. Inva­sive species often out-compete native species, giv­ing native species lit­tle chance for sur­vival; this includes both ter­res­trial and aquatic plants and animals.

Japanese Knotweed within the Watershed

Japan­ese Knotweed within the Watershed

The first inva­sive species we’ll look at is Japan­ese Knotweed. This mon­ster of a plant came to the U.S. as an orna­men­tal plant in the 1800’s from East­ern Asia. Knotweed is iden­ti­fied by its large heart-shaped leaves, hol­low bamboo-like stalks, and clus­ters of white or cream col­ored flow­ers. It is often found near streams or rivers and it can with­stand low-light, high tem­per­a­tures, drought, and poor soil qual­ity, mak­ing this inva­sive resilient to many dif­fer­ent types of envi­ron­ments. Knotweed can grow up to 15 feet tall, with deep rhi­zomes (roots) extend­ing into the ground, mak­ing it very dif­fi­cult and timely to eradicate.

Photo of Japanese Knotweed leaves & flowers courtesy of

Photo of Japan­ese Knotweed leaves & flow­ers cour­tesy of

Col­lab­o­ra­tion and coor­di­na­tion from as many peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions as pos­si­ble is the best way to tackle Japan­ese Knotweed. In order to con­trol it, one must be dili­gent. The Catskill Regional Inva­sive Species Part­ner­ship (CRISP) rec­om­mends con­tin­u­ous man­ual removal of Knotweed approx­i­mately 2–3 times each year for at least 3 years, or until it is erad­i­cated. Accord­ing to New York Inva­sive Species Infor­ma­tion (NYIS), mow­ing or cut­ting of Japan­ese Knotweed will actu­ally spread the plant, rather than con­tain it. For those who would like to use her­bi­cides on large vol­umes of Knotweed, call your local CCE or Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict office to get more infor­ma­tion on chem­i­cal reg­u­la­tions and safety pre­cau­tions in your region.


Videos regard­ing Inva­sive Species in New York State:

Pre­vent the Spread of Inva­sive Species

Get to Know Inva­sive Plants


Fol­low us this week as we uncover more inva­sive species in our Ashokan Water­shed! Face­bookTwit­terInsta­gram




Tree & Shrub Sale Announced

Posted on: February 23rd, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

The Ulster County Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion District’s home office in High­land, NY is announc­ing their annual tree and shrub sale.

The order form must be received by Fri­day, March 30, 2018.

Many of the species included in the sale are native to the Ashokan water­shed and make great addi­tions to stream­side veg­e­ta­tion.  Healthy and diverse stream­side veg­e­ta­tion plays an impor­tant role in sta­bi­liz­ing stream­banks and help­ing resist erosion.

We are espe­cially fond of sand­bar wil­low, Amer­i­can sycamore and red osier dog­wood for stream­side set­tings.  If you are look­ing for Ashokan natives for an upland set­ting, con­sider sugar maple, swamp white oak and Amer­i­can cranberry.

For stream buffer related ques­tions or help select­ing appro­pri­ate veg­e­ta­tion, con­tact Bobby Tay­lor, Ulster Co. SWCD and AWSMP Catskill Streams Buffer Coor­di­na­tor at or call (845) 688‑3047 x6.

Stream Explorers Register Now!

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Call­ing all stream explor­ers of the Ashokan Water­shed grades 3 through 7, reg­is­ter now to attend the Stream Explor­ers Youth Adven­ture on Sat­ur­day, April 14! The Youth Adven­ture will run from 8:30am to 4:30pm at the Ashokan Cen­ter in Olive­bridge, NY. Explor­ers can expect a fun-fill, action-packed day of out­door activ­i­ties. We’ll learn how streams work, inves­ti­gate stream ecosys­tems, and play water-related games. See the con­fer­ence brochure to learn more. Reg­is­ter online or by com­plet­ing the brochure. Par­ents and guardians are wel­come to reg­is­ter and join the fun! Par­tic­i­pants must be res­i­dents of Ulster County. Pref­er­ence is given to res­i­dents of the Ashokan Water­shed. Reg­is­ter early to reserve your spot and get a discount.

Scholarships Available to Public Officials

Posted on: February 15th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

The AWSMP is now offer­ing schol­ar­ships to pub­lic offi­cials from Ashokan water­shed com­mu­ni­ties to attend the NYS Flood­plain & Stormwa­ter Man­agers Asso­ci­a­tion annual con­fer­ence from April 23–25, 2018 in Rochester, NY.  Offi­cials should apply for a schol­ar­ship to attend the con­fer­ence by April 6. The con­fer­ence offers offi­cials the oppor­tu­nity to com­plete con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion cred­its needed to main­tain Cer­ti­fied Flood­plain Man­ager sta­tus, or take the exam to become a Cer­ti­fied Flood­plain Man­ager (CFM). Schol­ar­ships will cover the con­fer­ence and exam fee and travel costs. The AWSMP has assisted 8 local offi­cials in becom­ing CFMs to date! For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact Brent Gotsch at or call 845–688-3047.


Fall in Love with Your Stream Event Recap!

Posted on: February 6th, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

On Fri­day (2/2), we held our first-ever “Fall in Love with Your Stream” event at local-favorite Bite Me Bak­ery, located in Phoeni­cia. It went off with­out a hitch, with so many won­der­ful mem­bers of the com­mu­nity com­ing in and shar­ing their love for our streams!

Our local com­mu­nity mem­bers were excel­lent com­pany as they shared their sto­ries and mem­o­ries of the water­shed. From grow­ing up on the Eso­pus Creek, to fish­ing the Lit­tle Beaver Kill today, not only did we teach them a few things, we got a les­son or two from them as well. Many of our event par­tic­i­pants shared with us his­tor­i­cal aspects of the Watershed’s land changes and stream ecosys­tems as they rem­i­nisced through aer­ial images from 1972. Oth­ers shared with us their favorite fish­ing spots and dis­cussed the types of fish they have caught.

IMG_2874 IMG_2875

The AWSMP staff pro­vided maps and free Eso­pus Creek Cup­cakes for the event, as well as the Love Your Stream dat­ing game and the chance to “Guess that Creek!” where par­tic­i­pants won a prize such as the “Eso­pus Creek” euro sticker or a Trout squishy if they succeeded!


Over­all, the AWSMP staff had a blast with every­one who came out to Phoeni­cia with us on Fri­day, and we hope you all did too. Thank you to those who par­tic­i­pated, and to Bite Me Bak­ery for not only cre­at­ing the incred­i­ble cup­cakes, but for pro­vid­ing us a space at which to hold our event.


If you didn’t get a chance to come down on Fri­day, don’t fret! We’ll be pro­vid­ing more events and pro­grams very soon. Check back for updates, and don’t for­get about our social media sites for more info and pictures!

Face­book , Twit­ter, Insta­gram — *New!